Monday, January 5, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week.  I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books.
The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma

Hilarious! Poor Cat is just trying to tell Dog the story of "Little Red Riding Hood," but Dog is not making it easy. This book will be a perfect mentor text when my 5th graders write fractured tales!
Shooting at the Stars

I wasn't sure what to categorize this book since it was in the nonfiction section of the library, but the author said it is a fictional account. One of those blurred genres! Anyway, the most important thing is that this truce on Christmas Eve 1914 between the Germans and British soldiers on the front lines in WWI really did happen. The story is heartwarming because it shows us how we're all more alike than different, but it's heartbreaking because those boys went right back to war and were fighting for four more years. Beautiful story, though, of the human spirit and condition. I'll be adding it to the girls' Christmas Eve collection.
The Mark of the Dragonfly
I was swept up in this adventure fantasy and didn't want it to stop. In this futuristic society, Piper is a scrapper with a talent for fixing machines in Scrap Town Number Sixteen in the Merrow Kingdom. She watches for whatever storms bring from other worlds that would be worth selling at the trade markets. What she doesn't expect to find is a girl. A girl with the dragonfly tattoo, which means she's from the Dragonfly Territory, and she's protected by the king. Unfortunately, she doesn't remember who she is, so Piper takes her under her wing. There is only one way to get to the Dragonfly Territory, and that is the 401, a train that is impossible to board. That doesn't stop Piper, though. The adventure doesn't slow down after that, and not only does Piper learn who Anna is, she learns a lot about herself, too. I think this book is going to be a huge hit in my classroom!

Nightingale's Nest

Oh wow. Carrie Gelson called Nightingale's Nest "hauntingly beautiful." I whole-heartedly agree! Since it is based on a fairy tale ("The Nightingale"), it is bound to be somewhat creepy, which it definitely is. It makes me think of books such as Breadcrumbs and The Real Boy by Anne Ursu. Lots of theme topics come into play: right and wrong, anger, death and recovery, fear and courage, mental illness, greed, friendship, redemption, forgiveness, etc. At one point, the main character, Little John, says, "What was right didn't have a thing to do with what was." This drives many of his motivations, but in the end, doing the right thing anyway is what makes him human. The ethereal Gayle makes readers wonder what's real, the Emperor is downright icky, the downtrodden father makes it difficult for us to conjure up empathy, Isabelle makes us laugh at her enthusiasm for death, and the mother is a tragic character. Somehow, Loftin manages to make all this wrong right again. Loved it!

CURRENTLY READING (for Cybils' Awards Judging!)

All Four Stars 



  1. Great books! I'm so glad you liked Mark of the Dragonfly! Huge read aloud in our class, although they aren't "hooked" until Piper and Anna get on the 401.

  2. These look like great reads and I hope you enjoy them!! I'm a new follower and I hope to see you around my blog


    1. Katelynn,

      Thank you so much for becoming a follower! Stopping by your blog NOW! ;-)

  3. You have so many great books on this list! Happy CYBILS reading! Can't wait to hear who you guys will pick!

  4. After your review, how am I NOT supposed to read Nightingale's Nest! I saw it on Carrie's blog, too. I need to find a copy of it. Thank you for sharing these books, and I hope you have a great week!

  5. I also loved Mark of the Dragonfly. Thinking of it as a potential later in the year read aloud. Such suspense! I read The Boundless aloud to my children. We all loved it! We have a signed copy as my husband and I went to hear Kenneth Oppel speak about researching and writing this book. So interesting!

  6. Loved The Cat, The Dog, Little Red... So cute & it is a great text for mentoring those fractured fairy tales. And I enjoyed The Mark of The Dragonfly. Still need to read Nightingale's Nest. You and Carrie are very persuasive!

  7. I love Kenneth Oppel! I am so upset that I haven't read his newest yet.
    I agree that The Cat, the Dog... was hilarious! I would love to do it as a reader's theater.

    Happy reading this week! :)

  8. So interesting to read about your enthusiasm for Nightingale's Nest - I had a difficult time with some aspects of it, but it had parts that were truly "hauntingly beautiful."

  9. Thanks for telling us about All Four Stars. We are ordering it right now :)

  10. Lots of books on your list are in my #mustread pile for this year! I read so much last week, but school is getting in the way this week :)
    Loved Shooting at the Stars and The Cat, The Dog... had me laughing out loud! Very humorous!

  11. I am reading The Painted Veil myself and I started reading Where the Red Fern Grows today to my class. I have some of your books on my TBR list and can't wait to get to them! Yay for reading!

  12. I just had to order The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma as soon as I saw that video. Some of these are on my to read list, but I've added All Four Stars to my goodreads list as well, Thanks for the heads up.

  13. I love J Patrick Lewis' And The Soldiers Sang which I believe is also based on the Christmas Truce from Shooting at the Stars. I have yet to find Nightingale's Nest - would love to read a 'hauntingly beautiful' novel :)